Vivek Ranadivé, CEO of Tibco Software is happy that there is a lot of talk about "real-time" these days, in terms of the web and IT systems. That's because Tibco has been in the business of providing real-time IT technologies for a long time, for Wall Street financial systems and other large enterprises.
Real-time IT systems have moved beyond the trading floors and into the data centers of most large companies in many sectors. The focus for Tibco now is looking at what's next after real-time, and that's literally 'what's next?'
Welcome to the world of predictive IT, business systems that run in real-time and use predictive analytics to immediately respond to business events. Events such as customers using an ATM and being offered custom offers on loans; or a casino that tracks customer losses and can offer free tickets for a show to cheer them up; a cell phone company that responds to multiple dropped calls with free minutes.
"Companies need to move beyond real-time and start using predictive, rules-based business processes. This is what I call Enterprise 3.0," says Mr Ranadivé. Enterprise 1.0 was characterized by the mainframe and batch-processing software; Enterprise 2.0 is the era of the client/server and software tied to the database; Enterprise 3.0 is where the software is liberated from the database, it runs in memory; and where predictive analytics and business process software can pick out any event from a hundred million others, and respond with a pre-determined business process that can be customized on-the-fly.
Mr Ranadivé believes that this Enterprise 3.0 phase will be dominated by a different set of IT vendors and that this where Tibco's fortunes will be made. Oracle dominates the Enterprise 2.0 world because it is a database-centric IT environment but that world is changing.
"People don't realize that companies such as Amazon are already event-driven. Vodaphone deals with more than 1 billion events a day." Business applications tied to a central database would be too slow to respond to that volume of events. It requires real-time IT systems implementing rules-based business processes.
This is also where companies can distinguish themselves from competitors. "If you have a little bit of knowledge about the future, if you know how your customers will behave, you then have the ability to improve services, and you have opportunities to up-sell and cross-sell."
Adding Enterprise 3.0 capabilities doesn't have to be a big venture for a company. Mr Ranadivé says enterprises typically do it in stages and projects can be implemented in three to six months.
In an Enterprise 3.0 world, innovation, and the competitive distinction between companies, becomes expressed through the predictive analytics and business processes developed within each enterprise. And there are potential business opportunities for startups to develop predictive analytics targeted at specific industries.
But will businesses embrace this Enterprise 3.0 view? Mr Ranadivé believes they will, and he believes that they will be motivated by that traditional maxim of the business world "if you don't do it, then your competitors will." Some already are doing it.